“Things that most people take for granted, for example sleeping, bathing, brushing one’s teeth, getting dressed, making meals, and even driving a car, are extremely challenging for me.” ~ Mrs. ‘K.D.’: “Living With Rheumatoid Arthritis.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, arthritis affects nearly 55 million American adults. There are over 100 different forms of arthritis and relative diseases. The most common types being osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriatic arthritis (PsA), fibromyalgia, and gout.
There is one common denominator between all of them: joint pain. Aching, dull, hot, throbbing joint pain. As anyone who has suffered from the condition can attest, joint pain is among the worst types of pain out in existence. The inflammation of intersecting bone, cartilage, and ligaments defines the aches and pains associated with arthritis.
Why Food May Be The Best Option for Arthritis
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” ~ Hippocrates
Per WebMD, prescription medications for arthritis work for about 2 out of every 3 arthritis sufferers. Worse still are the costs: “…the drugs are expensive,” states WebMD, “they cost about $1,000 to $3,000 a month.”
One to three grand for arthritis treatment?! That’s more than most peoples’ mortgage! Even after taking health insurance into account, out-of-pocket costs are likely to reach into the hundreds – if not thousands – of dollars.
As a result of these exorbitant prescription drug costs, many seniors turn to high doses of over-the-counter meds (e.g., NSAIDs, aspirin) known to cause health problems ranging from headaches and dizziness to liver failure. Take into consideration the fact that many seniors are on a fixed income, and it’s clear that we have a big problem on our hands.
Perhaps the most feasible way to manage arthritic pain is through nutrition. According to The Brisbane Clinic of Nutritional Medicine, “Diet has been strongly implicated as a cause and therapy for many forms of arthritis. Unfortunately, this aspect is often overlooked and underestimated.”
5 Foods That Can Help Reduce Arthritis Pain
To start with, it is crucial to be aware of and steer clear from “trigger foods.” Trigger foods are those that produce an allergic or otherwise unfavorable bodily response (usually inflammation). Common trigger foods include dairy, red meats, wheat, corn, beef, and nightshade vegetables. Once you’ve identified and are actively avoiding your food triggers, you can turn your attention to nutritional healing.
With that in mind, here are 5 foods that may help significantly reduce arthritis pain.
Apples are loaded with two powerful bioflavonoids, quercetin and rutin. Both inhibit the release of histamine; protect the body from inflammation; boost blood circulation, and promote cellular health.
Other excellent sources of quercetin and rutin include chamomile tea, celery, capers, citrus fruits (orange, grapefruit, lemon, lime), cranberries, green peppers, and onions.
Make that a second non-meat source! Almonds are the most abundant source of vitamin E at 7.3 milligrams (mg) per ounce. Vitamin E helps stabilize cell membranes and, together with zinc, promotes the growth of cartilage.
Other top sources of vitamin E include spinach, sweet potatoes, avocado, wheat germ, palm oil, butternut squash, and sunflower seeds!
3. Cold water fish
Cold water fish contain abundant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which have potent anti-inflammatory properties. Omega-3’s contain eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), also known as marine fatty acids. EPA and DHA suppress the body’s inflammatory response by interfering with immune cells and enzymes involved in it.
The best marine omega-3s are salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerel. Vegans and vegetarians can acquire omega-3s through flaxseed, chia seeds, soy, kale, and other plant-based sources.
The protein in eggs can significantly increase the levels of tryptophan in the blood. Tryptophan is the building block of serotonin; the brain chemical that both stabilizes mood and boosts pain threshold. Tryptophan also raises endorphin levels in the brain and body!
Cheese, salmon, and turkey are also excellent sources of tryptophan. Vegan and vegetarian options include nuts and seeds, pineapples, and tofu.
Lamb is an excellent source of zinc, an essential mineral with many functional roles in the human body. According to the Arthritis Association, “Studies show significantly lower zinc levels in people with rheumatoid arthritis compared to those without it.” Individuals whose tests revealed “the lowest levels (of zinc)” tended to have it worse off.
Other meat sources of zinc include seafood, red meat, and poultry. Fortified cereals; bean, nuts, seeds (especially pumpkin!), and whole grains are good non-meat sources of the mineral.